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The Prince's Boy af Paul Bailey
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The Prince's Boy (udgave 2014)

af Paul Bailey

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler
534396,663 (3.15)Ingen
In May 1927, nineteen-year-old Dinu Grigorescu, a skinny boy with literary ambitions, is newly arrived in Paris. He has been sent from Bucharest, the city of his childhood, by his wealthy father to embark upon a bohemian adventure and relish the unique pleasures of Parisian life. An innocent in a new city, still grieving the sudden loss of his beloved mother Elena seven years earlier, Dinu is encouraged to enjoy la vie de Boheme by his distant cousin, Eduard. But tentatively, secretly, Dinu is drawn to the Bains du Ballon d'Alsace, a notorious establishment rumoured to offer the men of Paris, married or otherwise, who enjoy something different, everything they crave. It is here that he meets Razvan, a fellow Romanian, the adopted child of a man of refinement, a prince's boy whose stories of Proust and other artists entrance Dinu, and who will become the young man's teacher in the ways of the world. At a distance of forty years, and written in London, his refuge from the horrors of Europe's early twentieth-century history, Dinu's memoir of his brief spell in Paris is one of exploration and rediscovery. The love that blossomed that sunlit day in such inauspicious and unromantic surroundings would transcend lust, separation, despair and even death to endure a lifetime. This is a work of extraordinary sensual delicacy, an exquisite novel from one of our most celebrated writers.… (mere)
Medlem:mappman
Titel:The Prince's Boy
Forfattere:Paul Bailey
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2014), Hardcover, 160 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

The Prince's Boy: A Novel af Paul Bailey

Ingen
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Viser 4 af 4
I keep bouncing from 4 and 5 stars on this one. Wish I could do a 4.5. I feel that the writing in this piece is beautiful and fits the setting and characters along with the theme. I had no idea what I was getting into as I was just looking to read a novel in 1st POV (Point of View). I fell in love with it all; the characters, settings, events, the language, voice, style...EVERYTHING. I knew I was falling in love with it. I knew things were going to happen and I waited for them in the way that one waits to watch the sunset, knowing that it is the end of another day and yet the ending is too beautiful to neglect.

And, this novel did much more than to entertain. I learned things about history and art. Marcel Proust, a French novelist, was a person I had never heard of and now I'm determined to read at least one of his works. I didn't have a full understanding of the role that Romania played during WWII and now I'm looking into that history to learn more. There are other examples, throughout the book, that I am leaving out.

And there was so much to explore, human sexuality, religion, politics, and bigotry. All of these subjects touched and done so in a way that led me to not sympathy for the characters, but empathy. Interesting, I picked this book up before the elections, not knowing what it was about, and here it touches on many of the fears that many Americans, and many others around the world, are facing. A fitting read for me during these days. ( )
  Katrinia17 | Dec 30, 2017 |
I feel as if I was introduced to Paul Bailey by Elizabeth Taylor – it is said (how true this is I don’t know) that the young Paul Bailey was the inspiration behind the character of Ludo in her 1971 novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont. He has also written introductions to many VMC titles, so despite having been aware of Paul Bailey for a number of years I had yet to read one of his novels. I seem to have started with Bailey’s most recent novel – despite having his first novel already tbr.

I bought The Prince’s Boy in Shakespeare and company while I was on a little trip to Paris – admittedly I was rather attracted to the cover. Reading it was a lovely little reminder of that trip – and the all too brief minutes I spent in that famous shop.

The story spans approximately forty years, moving from Paris to Bucharest and London, as we follow the emotional life of Dinu Grigorescu. In many ways, not a huge amount happens in this novel, it is the characters and their emotional and artistic lives which we explore here. The prose is deceptively simple – but flawless, and not a word is wasted in this short novel, which can be surprisingly moving at times.

In 1927 Dinu a naïve nineteen-year-old, newly arrived in Paris from Bucharest, is still deeply grieving the death of his beloved mother. Dinu is met by his older worldlier cousin Eduard. Ready at last, to taste something of life, Dinu is drawn, nervously to the Bains du Ballon d’Alsace a place notorious in Paris for offering men ‘something different’ – whatever that might be. Here Dinu meets Răzvan, (professionally named Honoré) a man already in his thirties – who Dinu is immediately captivated by. Răzvan is a fellow Rumanian, once the adopted child of a respected, wealthy man, he was the Prince’s boy, and now entrances Dinu with stories of Proust. Răzvan is Dinu’s teacher in so many ways of the world and in the ways of love. The love between these two men is sensual and very touching – destined to last a lifetime.

“It is love I am writing about here, in this memoir of a life half-lived. I have mentioned the railway porter and my inexplicable longing for him and his re-emergence as Honoré and then Răzvan. I have documented as a fact that I was drawn in my youth to men who were hairy and muscular, who represented a manliness denied me by nature. That fact, which alarmed and mystified me in the summer of 1927, causes me wry amusement now, for the brute I met in squalid circumstances on May 26 of that fateful year was none other than a prince’s boy, the adopted child of a man of exquisite refinement, who had shaken the limp hand of Marcel Proust and mingled with artists I could only dream of meeting.”

However, the summer in Paris at Dinu’s wealthy father’s expense cannot last forever – and soon Dinu is headed back to his father’s house in Bucharest. Here he finds a new stepmother installed at home – and a stepsister – and Dinu is swamped by memories of his gentle mother. It is Amalia, Dinu’s step-mother who first realises that Dinu is hiding a secret. Life in Bucharest is slower and more traditional than the life he lived in Bohemian Paris – and Dinu misses Răzvan who he knows he won’t be able to see for ages.

“Where could I hide the photograph of Răzvan? That was my first thought as I walked into the room I had been absent from all summer. Then I wondered if there was any reason why I should conceal it. He was the friend I had made in Paris, who had turned out to be the ideal companion and guide to the city for the uninformed and guileless Dinu Grigorescu. I had no cause to be secretive about this man in his late thirties, handsome as he was, captured smiling at the camera by a street photographer on the Champs-Elysées. No one was to know, unless I told them, that he was my deflowerer, my consummate and passionate love, my precious Răzvanel.”

Dinu and Răzvan’s relationship is complicated by very long periods apart, surviving on occasional letters – largely written in code. Over time, Dinu starts to learn a bit about Răzvan’s early life – and struggles to help him with the dark depressions that swamp him from time to time.

From his home in London in the 1960s – where he fled following the political upheaval of the 1940s – Dinu remembers Răzvan, and the years they spent together – years he describes as having been like a marriage.

The Prince’s Boy is something of a slow burn but I really enjoyed it – subtle and very evocative of place – it is elegantly moving, and eminently readable. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Nov 11, 2017 |
I won a copy of this book here on Goodreads.

In some ways this was a wonderful book, in others it was pompous—trying far too hard to be what it is. In the wonderful column are a host of colourful characters, a strong, abiding love and some great writing.

However, I struggled to really get into the narrative. I found the dialogue almost unbearably stiff. It was purposefully so, for sure, since the characters are mostly of the upper-crust and thus constrained by the dictates and decorum of polite society. But I still found it unnatural to read.

The whole thing felt very much like a poorly done costume drama, set in the mid twenties. It tries so hard to be Paris in the 20s that it just comes off as an archetype of that time and place, rather than a believable story set there. Everyone is fashionably morose, maudlin and mawkish, voguishly liberated, libatious, and lascivious (or not), etc. Alternatively, perhaps it was striving to mimic the gravitas of the literary greats Dinu is so found of reading. But, again, it just felt forced.

I did appreciate that, while there are small joys here, this is an incredibly sad story and Bailey has allowed his characters the freedom to wallow in it. He never gives in to the popular pressure to provide everyone a sacrosanct happy ending. I also found something immensely gratifying in considering how The Prince's gift to his boy was also so very cruel, though Razvan could never regret receiving it. It's a testament to the duplicity of human nature, for sure.

I think that there is a lot to recommend this book to the right reader. I just don't know if I was that reader. ( )
  SadieSForsythe | Feb 24, 2016 |
Captivating little book of a young man from Bucharest who travels to Paris and discovers himself (and his sexuality) in 1927. His story, one of finding the love of his life, is bigger in its brevity - saying so much in the jewel-like aspect of what is not said. The darker moments remind us of what coming out could be all about prior to these latter days of liberating freedom. The confessional nature of the pseudo-memoir should jar us out of any of the lingering guilt we might feel as perverts. ( )
  dbsovereign | Feb 6, 2016 |
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In May 1927, nineteen-year-old Dinu Grigorescu, a skinny boy with literary ambitions, is newly arrived in Paris. He has been sent from Bucharest, the city of his childhood, by his wealthy father to embark upon a bohemian adventure and relish the unique pleasures of Parisian life. An innocent in a new city, still grieving the sudden loss of his beloved mother Elena seven years earlier, Dinu is encouraged to enjoy la vie de Boheme by his distant cousin, Eduard. But tentatively, secretly, Dinu is drawn to the Bains du Ballon d'Alsace, a notorious establishment rumoured to offer the men of Paris, married or otherwise, who enjoy something different, everything they crave. It is here that he meets Razvan, a fellow Romanian, the adopted child of a man of refinement, a prince's boy whose stories of Proust and other artists entrance Dinu, and who will become the young man's teacher in the ways of the world. At a distance of forty years, and written in London, his refuge from the horrors of Europe's early twentieth-century history, Dinu's memoir of his brief spell in Paris is one of exploration and rediscovery. The love that blossomed that sunlit day in such inauspicious and unromantic surroundings would transcend lust, separation, despair and even death to endure a lifetime. This is a work of extraordinary sensual delicacy, an exquisite novel from one of our most celebrated writers.

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